Kelly McAleavey

Primary Teacher

St. Patrick’s Primary School Shotts

  • Growth Mindset

What happens when the teacher uses praise for effort in the classroom?


The idea behind this practitioner enquiry is intrinsically linked to growth mindset and Carol Dweck’s theory that pupils’ mindset “plays a key role in their motivation and achievement, and that if we change students’ mindsets, we can boost their achievement.” It is also the belief of Carol Dweck that fostering a growth mindset in pupils will ultimately result in a more intrinsically motivated class stating that: “Commending students for the processes they use – engagement, perseverance, strategies, improvement – fosters motivation, increased effort, willingness to take on new challenges, greater self-confidence, and a higher level of success.” My school is currently involved in the Scottish Government National Attainment Challenge and our current focus is on raising attainment through nurture as a priority. There is evidence to suggest that developing a growth mindset in the classroom can help to boost self-esteem and confidence creating a positive, nurturing classroom environment which, in turn, has a positive effect on pupil motivation and attainment.


My aim throughout this small-scale classroom based practitioner enquiry was to determine what effect, if any, praising effort in a primary five class had on pupil motivation, engagement and self-esteem.

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